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Old 03-01-2019, 09:15 AM   #1
cd2013
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Question How to organise your library? I use Calibre because Kindle's collections are useless

How do you Kindle users organise your collections of books, browse through what you have bought, group books into categories, remember what you have read and decide what to read next, etc?

I wish I had known it before buying a Kindle and about 200 books on it, but the Kobos integrate very well with Calibre: books can be tagged and classified with Calibre, and Calibre will very easily create Kobo shelves based on the tags, with no jailbreaking required.

With Kindles, I find that managing more than 100 books is almost impossible. I have no OCD desire to classify them according to multiple criteria – I just want to remember roughly what I have bought and what I haven’t yet read.

The workflow I have come up with basically involves using Calibre to manage the library, and the Kindle to read only; Kindle's collections are too chaotic to be of any real use:
  • using Calibre to classify and tag the books
  • then using Calibre, if I am at my PC, or Calibre Companion if I want to do it away from home, as I described here: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...1&postcount=17 , to browse my library; by that I mean remembering what I have bought and decide what to read next
  • keeping onto the Kindle only the dozen or so books I want to read next
  • giving up any attempt to use the Kindle to manage and browse the collection
How do other people do it? If I were to rely on the Kindle alone to browse my library and remember what I have bought, I’d go nuts – and this is without a huge library; some people have thousands of books – how do they manage them?

I find Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem sucks at managing libraries because:
  • Collections created on Kindle for PC are not synced to the other devices
  • The Amazon website has a function to add books to collections, but it doesn’t work (see my other post: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=315630 )
  • Collections created on older devices which do not support Cloud Collections cannot be imported (or at least I haven’t found a way)
  • Basically you can only manage collections on the newer Kindle ereaders, or on the iOS or Android apps. In reality, only on iOS or Android, because managing them from the Kindle takes forever, e.g. to add a book to a collection, you need to select the collection, choose ‘add’, then browse through all the pages till you find the book – you cannot search for the book title.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:34 AM   #2
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I also use Calibre for managing my library; my Kindles are for reading only. That said, I still tend to keep 1000-2000 books on my Kindles. I'm not big on collections, though, and use searching to find the necessary book on a Kindle.

Calibre does everything I want from a library manager and I wouldn't have much use for any collections/shelves feature on my reading device. It's just not really important for me.
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cd2013 View Post
How do you Kindle users organise your collections of books, browse through what you have bought, group books into categories, remember what you have read and decide what to read next, etc?

I wish I had known it before buying a Kindle and about 200 books on it, but the Kobos integrate very well with Calibre: books can be tagged and classified with Calibre, and Calibre will very easily create Kobo shelves based on the tags, with no jailbreaking required.

With Kindles, I find that managing more than 100 books is almost impossible. I have no OCD desire to classify them according to multiple criteria – I just want to remember roughly what I have bought and what I haven’t yet read.

The workflow I have come up with basically involves using Calibre to manage the library, and the Kindle to read only; Kindle's collections are too chaotic to be of any real use:
  • using Calibre to classify and tag the books
  • then using Calibre, if I am at my PC, or Calibre Companion if I want to do it away from home, as I described here: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...1&postcount=17 , to browse my library; by that I mean remembering what I have bought and decide what to read next
  • keeping onto the Kindle only the dozen or so books I want to read next
  • giving up any attempt to use the Kindle to manage and browse the collection
How do other people do it? If I were to rely on the Kindle alone to browse my library and remember what I have bought, I’d go nuts – and this is without a huge library; some people have thousands of books – how do they manage them?

I find Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem sucks at managing libraries because:
  • Collections created on Kindle for PC are not synced to the other devices
  • The Amazon website has a function to add books to collections, but it doesn’t work (see my other post: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=315630 )
  • Collections created on older devices which do not support Cloud Collections cannot be imported (or at least I haven’t found a way)
  • Basically you can only manage collections on the newer Kindle ereaders, or on the iOS or Android apps. In reality, only on iOS or Android, because managing them from the Kindle takes forever, e.g. to add a book to a collection, you need to select the collection, choose ‘add’, then browse through all the pages till you find the book – you cannot search for the book title.
Regarding the part that I bolded above, when I go to add a book to a collection from my Kindle, I do the opposite. I touch and hold the book title, then choose "Add to collection" and choose the collection I want to add the book to. For my purposes, this works fine, since the only time I am adding to collections from my Kindle is when I finish reading a book, and I'm adding it to "read" collection for the current year. For adding to other collections (Genre, for example), I do it from the Manage Your Content and Devices page. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to work for you for some reason.

Shari
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:25 AM   #4
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Website works fine for me for adding books to collections. Caveat, I think Kindles don't like exceeding around ~990 books per collection. Also, Add to Collections doesn't appear as an option for me on mobile browsers. Works fine on Chrome with Windows 7.

https://www.amazon.com/myk

That said, regardless of what ereader one has, I think if one has over a thousand books acquired from different sources, I reckon it's still much faster to check one's Calibre library via smartphone, tablet or PC if a book has already been purchased or not. I only use collections on ereaders for browsing for my next read so I don't have to scroll through hundreds of pages—not to check which books I've already bought and which ones I haven't. Mind, if one only buys from Amazon, then it's less of an issue since Amazon will tell you that you've already purchased a book.

As for adding newly purchased books to collections on the Kindle ereader itself, I just sort by Recent. For me, that usually puts newly acquired books at the very top of the list. Page 2 at most.

I own both Kobos and jailbroken Kindles so I can manage collections/shelves on both via Calibre. After jailbreak, I don't find Kobos much better than the Kindles for book browsing. Once the book is on the device, the Kindle flags them either as new or with the reading progress so unless you read USB sideloaded books on multiple devices, keeping track if a book has been read or not isn't much of an issue.

If I didn't have a jailbroken Kindle, I'd either:
  1. use send to Kindle to store books on Amazon's cloud and use the website to organize them by collections, or
  2. continue sideloading but only keep a few books on the device (favorites + reading list), or
  3. continue sideloading but use a different method to browse for books to read (e.g. Calibre catalog, Calibre-PHP server, COPS, CC on smartphone/tablet) and use the Kindle search function to get to the actual ebook as needed

Personally, I rarely have the inclination to connect my Kindle to USB to transfer books/manage collections so I've actually been using #3 quite a bit. I use the Kindle's experimental browser to browse for books on Calibre-PHP server, then just download and read directly (I almost always sort by Recent).
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirtel View Post
I also use Calibre for managing my library; my Kindles are for reading only. That said, I still tend to keep 1000-2000 books on my Kindles. I'm not big on collections, though, and use searching to find the necessary book on a Kindle.

Calibre does everything I want from a library manager and I wouldn't have much use for any collections/shelves feature on my reading device. It's just not really important for me.
Same. I see the Kindle as kind of a technical cul-de-sac, a dead end device that it's hard to get stuff back out of (except for notes and books themselves, which sync nicely IF using Amazon's cloud). So I'm not going to go to great effort on this, or any other reading device, to create a bunch of structure and metadata to organize my collection, only to lose it or have difficulty transferring it later. Seems like Calibre is the place to do that. And if you can find an app (like CC for Android) that can leverage Calibre data on your reading device, even better.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cd2013 View Post
How do you Kindle users organise your collections of books, browse through what you have bought, group books into categories, remember what you have read and decide what to read next, etc?

I wish I had known it before buying a Kindle and about 200 books on it, but the Kobos integrate very well with Calibre: books can be tagged and classified with Calibre, and Calibre will very easily create Kobo shelves based on the tags, with no jailbreaking required.

With Kindles, I find that managing more than 100 books is almost impossible. I have no OCD desire to classify them according to multiple criteria – I just want to remember roughly what I have bought and what I haven’t yet read.

The workflow I have come up with basically involves using Calibre to manage the library, and the Kindle to read only; Kindle's collections are too chaotic to be of any real use:
  • using Calibre to classify and tag the books
  • then using Calibre, if I am at my PC, or Calibre Companion if I want to do it away from home, as I described here: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...1&postcount=17 , to browse my library; by that I mean remembering what I have bought and decide what to read next
  • keeping onto the Kindle only the dozen or so books I want to read next
  • giving up any attempt to use the Kindle to manage and browse the collection
How do other people do it? If I were to rely on the Kindle alone to browse my library and remember what I have bought, I’d go nuts – and this is without a huge library; some people have thousands of books – how do they manage them?

I find Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem sucks at managing libraries because:
  • Collections created on Kindle for PC are not synced to the other devices
  • The Amazon website has a function to add books to collections, but it doesn’t work (see my other post: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=315630 )
  • Collections created on older devices which do not support Cloud Collections cannot be imported (or at least I haven’t found a way)
  • Basically you can only manage collections on the newer Kindle ereaders, or on the iOS or Android apps. In reality, only on iOS or Android, because managing them from the Kindle takes forever, e.g. to add a book to a collection, you need to select the collection, choose ‘add’, then browse through all the pages till you find the book – you cannot search for the book title.
This is a great post and a summary of the problems of trying to use a Kindle device to organize your book collection. I couldn't agree more. I think Kindles are awesome as reading devices......and that's about it. They do that one thing very well. I have no problem jailbreaking stuff when it makes sense and gives me some added value for the hassle; I've done it with Android tablets and phones. I just don't see the value of jailbreaking a Kindle primarily just to do a clunky on-device organizing scheme that will not transfer elsewhere. All the other things people say they jailbreak a Kindle for (like fonts, sending content from Pocket, etc.), I can already do without jailbreak, or the things that I can't do (like reading statistics) are trivial and I don't care about.

I like your workflow and think it makes sense. You gave me a couple of ideas as well.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:08 PM   #7
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I also use calibre to organize my books. I only use Kindle collections for unread/read categorization and I only keep a dozen or so unread books on my devices. I am always near wi-fi so adding more books from my Amazon account is easy anytime.

I have seen hints that Amazon will soon allow the ability to filter books by read/unread, automatically marking books as read once they are completed. (I believe that Kobo already has a feature like that.) That may eliminate my need for collections entirely.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:18 PM   #8
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I suppose a related question would be: which would you recommend for a non-tech-savvy person? Someone who
may end up having a collection of 100 to 300 books, not thousands
will never use Calibre
might, maybe, be willing to access a website to classify books
will want to have a rough ideas of what crime novels he has bought, what history books, what biographies, etc.
might start to become forgetful e.g. (older relatives)

In other words, for a non-tech-savvy person who will do most of the library management on the ereader itself, or at most on the website of the related store, which would be better? Kindle? Kobo? Something else? I know the Kindle is cumbersome but I don’t have a Kobo to compare.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:22 PM   #9
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This is a great post and a summary of the problems of trying to use a Kindle device to organize your book collection. I couldn't agree more. I think Kindles are awesome as reading devices......and that's about it. They do that one thing very well. I have no problem jailbreaking stuff when it makes sense and gives me some added value for the hassle; I've done it with Android tablets and phones. I just don't see the value of jailbreaking a Kindle primarily just to do a clunky on-device organizing scheme that will not transfer elsewhere. All the other things people say they jailbreak a Kindle for (like fonts, sending content from Pocket, etc.), I can already do without jailbreak, or the things that I can't do (like reading statistics) are trivial and I don't care about.
I don't jailbreak to organize my entire ebook collection. I do that on Calibre. I jailbreak so I can at least do a one-way transfer of tags=>collections from Calibre to Kindle so I have at least *some* semblance of order on the device.

Also, jailbreaking gives me KOReader which brings with it a ton of benefits—highly customizable tap zones (tap almost anywhere goes forward, swipe for back), EPUB and CBZ support, Dropbox support, OPDS support, etc.

I do almost all my reading on KOReader now. Only thing I prefer the native Kindle reader for is full text search (ebook and library-wide).
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cd2013 View Post
I suppose a related question would be: which would you recommend for a non-tech-savvy person? Someone who
may end up having a collection of 100 to 300 books, not thousands
will never use Calibre
might, maybe, be willing to access a website to classify books
will want to have a rough ideas of what crime novels he has bought, what history books, what biographies, etc.
might start to become forgetful e.g. (older relatives)

In other words, for a non-tech-savvy person who will do most of the library management on the ereader itself, or at most on the website of the related store, which would be better? Kindle? Kobo? Something else? I know the Kindle is cumbersome but I don’t have a Kobo to compare.
Buying from a single bookstore will solve that issue regardless of device.

Since you specifically mentioned non-tech-savvy, I doubt they'll be doing any DRM removal and format shifting/conversion. As I'm located in the US, I would recommend Amazon for ease of availability (Amazon, Target, Best Buy, etc) and US-based customer support. Not that I know anyone who would buy a dedicated reader. Most just read on their smartphones or tablets.

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Old 03-01-2019, 12:26 PM   #11
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I don't jailbreak to organize my entire ebook collection. I do that on Calibre. I jailbreak so I can at least do a one-way transfer of tags=>collections from Calibre to Kindle so I have at least *some* semblance of order on the device.
Makes sense. Unfortunately not all devices can be jailbroken; my Voyage has too new a firmware. If I were to buy a new Paperwhite, I believe I'd have no way of knowing , before buying it, if the firmware is 'old enough' to allow jailbreak.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:27 PM   #12
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Also, jailbreaking gives me KOReader which brings with it a ton of benefits—highly customizable tap zones (tap almost anywhere goes forward, swipe for back), EPUB and CBZ support, Dropbox support, OPDS support, etc.

I do almost all my reading on KOReader now. Only thing I prefer the native Kindle reader for is full text search (ebook and library-wide).
Now that, I can see. I'm a KOReader fan as well, on my Kobo Forma. If jailbreaking gives you KOReader, I might have to go ahead and do that.

ETA: seeing the other post now, not even sure I *can* jailbreak. I have a new-ish PW4 with 5.10.3 installed.

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Old 03-01-2019, 12:32 PM   #13
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I have close to 10,000 books on my Oasis, and no collections. I personally have no need for them. The only way I need to organise my books is by author (which the Kindle does fine) and by series (which I use a Calibre metadata plugboard for).
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:38 PM   #14
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Makes sense. Unfortunately not all devices can be jailbroken; my Voyage has too new a firmware. If I were to buy a new Paperwhite, I believe I'd have no way of knowing , before buying it, if the firmware is 'old enough' to allow jailbreak.
Lol, I stocked up on PW3 Manga from Woot after someone reported it came with jailbreakable firmware. Stocked up on the PW4s, too, as soon as the jailbreak was discovered.

As interesting as the Voyage and Oasis 2 are, lower chances of jailbreakability is the primary reason why I haven't bought either.

Quick guess, the PW4 32GB LTE models are the least popular and has the highest likelihood of coming from older stock. It probably still ships with older, jailbreakable firmware and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case even a year or two from now. Granted, quite pricey. Buying from authorized retailers instead of Amazon direct would probably get you older stock, too. Iirc, the PW4 I got from Target Cyber Monday shipped with 5.10.0.1 when even my pre-order from Amazon from weeks earlier came with 5.10.0.2.

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Old 03-01-2019, 12:44 PM   #15
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I have close to 10,000 books on my Oasis, and no collections. I personally have no need for them. The only way I need to organise my books is by author (which the Kindle does fine) and by series (which I use a Calibre metadata plugboard for).
I suppose it's one of those where YMMV, big time.

If I didn't use Calibre, it would be the equivalent of having physical books all over the place on the floor in a dusty loft. Which books by SuchAndSuch have I not yet read? What books on $topic would I recommend? Spend hours in the loft before being able to ansnwer

For example, a few weeks ago I wanted to recommend a series of 4 novels to a friend. I remembered the topic but not the name of the author nor the title. Had I not tagged them in Calibre, it would have taken me quite a bit of googling to find the title name.

Or I wanted to remember what essays I had read on a certain, very specific topic (I had to recommend something to a friend in this case, too). Again, without tags I'd have struggled, because not all the books had the explicit topic in the title.

But, of course, as most things, it's very subjective. Amazon is certainly not struggling because Kobo's shelves are better than its collections! After all, most customers probably don't care as much as I do.

Last edited by cd2013; 03-01-2019 at 12:45 PM. Reason: typo
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